Long ago, code-golf was ruled on-topic on Stack Overflow subject to certain limits. Then we entered the Stack Exchange 2.0 era, and CodeGolf.SE was born to provide a home for these and related coding games, after which new questions were apparently never "officially" ruled as off-topic off-topic on Stack Overflow but have been regularly closed or migrated.

Today I noticed one of the old Stack Overflow [code-golf] questions nominated for deletion. Now, clearly these question should be off-topic on Stack Overflow at this point, but the question was initially well received.

Which brings me to ask "What should be the fate of the old questions?"

  • Historical lock? They were popular back in the day (this on has 81 votes and several have more than 100 with high scoring answer near or above 100 votes as well), and they have a part in the site's history, but...there are a lot of them. Are we locking whole classes of questions?
  • Migration? I'm a pro-tem moderator over on CodeGolf, and I can tell that (1) we've still not out of beta after rather more than a year, and may never make it; (2) the high vote counts on these questions are totally out of scale for the site; and (3) migration would create some very near duplicates.
  • Deletion? I'd be sad to see this as there are some good answers in there.

I suppose a fourth option would be

  • Migration and historical locking (do we even do this on newish sites?) which I could get behind if the site was going to go live.
  • 1
    It's always nice to hear the pro-tem moderator of a beta site say they "may never make it."
    – animuson StaffMod
    Mar 26, 2012 at 4:56
  • If you want to help, we could use a little more traffic... Mar 26, 2012 at 4:57
  • You just got a new member :) But I'm going to be inactivish for a few weeks now :/ Mar 26, 2012 at 5:06
  • FWIW: I don't see any particular advantage to #4; migration could be useful here for interesting CG posts that haven't gotten much attention on SO, but if we're gonna lock and delist them anyway, it seems rather pointless.
    – Shog9
    Mar 26, 2012 at 5:27
  • I'd imagine that it's pretty hard to get code golf out of beta. Not everyone struggles with puzzles daily. Inventing a puzzle require some time. The same puzzle can't be asked more than once (in contrary to SO, where the same question can be asked more than once). It's very hard to pick an accepted answer when all answers are equally valid in their own programming language context. So, low questions, low views, low accepts.
    – user138231
    Mar 26, 2012 at 16:07

1 Answer 1


These could probably be the poster-children for Historical Artifact locks. They were on-topic for Stack Overflow, their place there hard-won after considerable debate. Among the ones that remain are some brilliant examples of skill and creativity.

They may not fit cleanly into the current set of rules in place on Stack Overflow, and arguably never quite fit the philosophy of the site... They certainly gain little from being active today. But the site - and The Internet - would be worse off without them.

That said... There are over 200 of these on Stack Overflow. I don't think that all of them are loaded with historical significance. I recommend starting with the most-viewed, performing any cleanup that might be necessary, and then examining the rest for buried treasure.

  • 2
    This sounds very reasonable to me. I have a personal fondness for both Morse Code and Lasers neither of which have 10000 view, but both of which are over 5000. Mar 26, 2012 at 5:19
  • How many links would you say are needed to classify a post as heavily linked? I've been kicking around a rough criteria to slice the better candidates from the list. An average there doesn't make a lot of sense, because it fails to address how many links leading to content most people can't see are tolerable.
    – Tim Post
    Mar 26, 2012 at 8:05

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